Agroforestry: Farmer experience and the road ahead

Red Poll cattle farmed by Bil and Cath Grayson in Cumbria using conservation grazing techniques

Recent research has highlighted the importance of appropriate approaches to woodland planting to avoid negative unintended consequences to biodiversity and carbon sequestration. As a result of previous agricultural policy putting tree-planting in conflict with subsidies, the UK has one of lowest levels of woodland in Europe. New agricultural policy has the potential to meet multiple objectives for food production and environmental protection. We need to think differently about how we ‘farm’ our land in order to integrate multiple objectives better - whilst mixed cropping systems are more complex to manage, they can produce a wider range of food and fuel, greater resilience to climate and market challenges, and rural employment. We explore different ways in which farmers are integrating trees into their farming systems, with a view to others being able to learn from their experiences, linking with the National Network of Agroforestry Farms project.

August 2021

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